Going it alone

“Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

– Robert Frost

I’m at a new crossroads. The one on the left is full of possibility, it looks bumpy but it could lead me to a place that is full of wonder and delight. The one on the right is predictable, it looks rough and rugged but I know where it goes. I have to choose. Left or right?

If I choose left I go on my own. I have to rely on me. Only me. I have to trust myself and my abilities to pull myself out of the mud. I have to prove to myself that I am capable beyond what I believe.  The possibilities of an amazing life and future follow this path.

If I choose to take the path on the right, I get more support. I get to stay in the safety of knowing things will be fine. I get to rely on others and allow them to help me make my decisions. This isn’t all bad. The path on the right will lead to a good future, one that is predictable.

But the path on the left? It could go poorly. It could lead me through many, many trials. Trials I have to pass on my own. Am I strong enough? I don’t know. I’ve made it this far.

The right? It might go poorly, but probably not. Except, I’ll never find out how great I can be if I choose that way. I won’t have to deal with the extremes and it might be better than the one on the left, especially if the left path fails.

The question is am I willing to settle for “fine” or “good”? Or am I willing to challenge myself for a chance of “great” and “excellent”? What do most people choose? Most people choose to do the path on the right because it requires no work. People have given up on dreams and are “too tired” or “too old” to try anything new.

I know which path I’m going to travel. I know that I cannot settle. Already my life is amazing compared to a few years ago there’s no reason it cannot get better. Instead of thinking I’m in my 30s or my 40s, 60s, 80s… try thinking I have 70, 60, 40 or 20 more years yet to live. I haven’t even lived half of my potential life span! Why would I give up now?  And yes, I said “give up” because settling is quitting. And quitting is giving up. If my heart is beating anyway, might as well make it worth the while.

thanks for reading,

me

PS. The path on the right is a lie.

Mom?

Today marks 8 years since my mother died. Over the last four months I’ve loved her, missed her, hated her, loved her some more, and just wished I could talk with her. I’m glad she no longer suffers and I’m glad that she didn’t have to see me go through the things I’ve gone through the last couple of years. She would have been livid if she knew all the stuff her ex-son-in-law put her daughter through. I don’t think it’s possible to never need your mom again. I’ve wanted to ask her so many questions. I’ve written her a letter that she’ll never be able to see.

There are so many things I would talk to her about right now. With my eldest getting married in a few days, I’d start with apologizing for how I behaved when she was planning my wedding without my help. That would be where I start. But, if we had time to sit down over a cup of tea I think I’d go back to where things really went wrong. I’d ask her why she disappeared when I needed her the most. I’d ask her to explain what was going through her mind when her husband decided I shouldn’t keep my baby. I’d ask her how she could have possibly allowed me to let someone kill her first grandchild. I’d ask her where she went, after telling me that she’d help me anyway she could. I’d ask her why she wasn’t strong enough to stick up for me. I’d ask her why she put up with my dad. I’d ask her a lot of things.

I’ve forgiven her for most, if not all of it, but I still wonder why. I know my father was a difficult person to live with and one that you just never argued with. I don’t know what went on behind in private. I do know that I learned that I was to be subservient to my husband from him. And at the same time I never once doubted that both of my parents loved me.

It’s interesting, when I look back on it. My mother tried to tell me to love myself, but she was late on that. My father? He still lives and I’ve mostly forgiven him for many things yet I still want to know why. Why did he make me choose death? I’d like to understand what possessed him to think that it would be better. I know my mother knew, there’s no way that she couldn’t. I know she knew because she had already given birth to three babies. She knew what I was going to have to deal with. She insisted I get help, help I never got until this year.  My father, though? Did he not realize that forcing me to go through that would end up with me hating myself for the next 30 years? Did he realize that for all but the last three months that I truly believed that I was a murderer? How could a father choose to put his child through that?

Then, there’s the other side… If I talk to him will that open new wounds? Did he understand the implications and just think that he needed to make it happen anyways? Was he trying to protect me in his own way? There’s forgiveness there for him. Still part of me wants to know why. Why did you let your baby girl out of your sight? Where were you? Why didn’t you protect me? So many questions. No answers.

Questions I don’t really want answers to, not yet. Someday? Maybe. Maybe I’ll sit and talk with him on it one day. I haven’t yet, but I might. What would you do?

Thanks for reading,

me

 

What if I fail? Oh. But, my darling, what if you soar?

The messed up quote above by Erin Hanson “What if I fall? Oh. But my darling, what if you fly?” Is one with special meaning to me today. I have been flying in and out of my safety nest now for about three years. My therapist finally told me that I’ve out grown him, that I am quite capable on my own. But my fear comes quickly. My fear of failing. Even while having to return to him time and time again after feeling so much better and after working so hard for the life I have, lead me to believe that I was a failure.

I was beginning to believe I had ‘failed therapy’ and there was no use even trying anymore. But, instead, I have learned that life after abuse is a lot of back and forth. The forward motion is wonderful but sometimes we go back in time. Sometimes we wake up from a nightmare or sometimes something reminds us of something awful. All the feelings I had take over like it was yesterday, and all of the things I’d accomplished since then just vanish. All of my hope and dreams take a back seat and I find myself sitting on the steps sobbing again. Failed.

But no! It’s not failure. It’s realizing that I have finally left that life and how hugely opposite my current life is now. Those short treks back in time serve a purpose to remind me of the contrast my life is now. They remind me to stay the course and to steadily move forward despite the difficulty. Really? What could be more difficult that the actual leaving, anyhow? Leaving? With all of its secret preparations, the lies to stay safe, the hushed conversations, the quick plan making, the changing of subjects. Leaving? With the constant fear of being caught, or of not getting out in time? Leaving? The real threat that anything, I mean anything, could happen to make him angry. Leaving? I don’t think anything is quite as hard as that.

So I remind myself, that when I go back in time (which could happen for no apparent reason) I am merely reminding myself of how great my current life is. So, back to the point, failing therapy didn’t actually happen, even when I had to go back again and again. I’ve been flying in and out of his nest now for a long time. I know, deep in my being, that this time is the last. Somehow, it seems so very final. He promises, as always, that if I need to see him that he will always be there. Immediately I think, liar. How can he promise that? Then I realize he’s not lying. He truly believes if I need him again that he will be around for me to visit. I relax and accept his statement.

I ask him, instead, if he’s kicking me out of the nest so I can learn to fly on my own? His answer, was quite different than I expected. He tells me, instead, that I have been flying all along. Then I ask him, “but what if I fail?” He knows me well, he knows more than I ever expected him to… and he answers me, “Oh. But what if you soar?”

So now I ask myself? What if I soar? What happens then? My life has been challenging under anyone’s measure. Often I wonder how I got where I am, just like others wonder how I managed it all? Then I remind myself, I got where I am because I chose to go down this road. I made difficult decisions, I took the hard road, I pushed and I struggled, and sometimes I crawled and I screamed but all in all I learned how to fly. I learned how to fly on my own. Now, what if I can soar? I will attempt to soar. I will open my wings and allow the wind to hold me up. I will do what I must. And, I will likely go back in time again. It will be OK because my wings will become stronger over time. And one day, I will truly soar.

And what about my safety nest? What if I find I need to land for a bit of time? What then? Will that then mean that I have failed? No. It will mean only that my wings are tired and I need only to find my course again. I know that storms will come, I know that there will be many times in the future where I could forget how to fly. But I also know that I can heal and that I can gather myself a hug and renewed energy. Then what will I hear? I will hear his voice asking me, “have you taken care of yourself lately? What are you doing for you?” For these words will be what I need to hear, old habits die hard and I need the reminding.

So the question remains? “Oh. But, my darling, what if you soar?”

 

thank you for reading,

me

The Next 30 Days

It’s “crunch” time. It’s almost the end of the semester. Four plus exams, a case study, and two Practicals left in less than 20 days… only 8 days of actual classes. Four finals followed immediately by mediation with the ex, then starting rotations, then my daughter gets married… less than 30 days from today. My friend, Time, must feel the need to push me forward because this Time is coming so quickly now that I keep thinking I’m forgetting to do something. From one minute to the next I have no idea what I am doing. I’m OK for a bit if I just sit and ignore everything and concentrate on only one thing, but then I get sidetracked because of something I forgot.

I have choices still, I have to remind myself that I do still get to choose. I get to choose whether I will “freak out” and yell at my kids while they run around like wild animals in the house while I study. Or I could take a deep breath, send them outside, and refocus. I have the choice whether I let myself feel the overwhelm that is trying to set in or I can notice that it’s there and stop and plan a way to go forward. Everything I do is a choice.

Problem is is that some of these choices were made earlier when I felt like I had more time. Habits are hard to change. I fill my calendar from morning to night, from Sunday to Saturday and fail to schedule time for me in. This habit has got to change. Sure, I know I’ll be able to make it through the next 30 days. I know I will still be breathing when it’s done, aside from an act of God, these next 30 days will pass. At the end I will have passed my classes, successfully mediated with my ex, married off my daughter to a great guy and be in the midst of my rotations. This will all happen. I believe it. I have faith that these next days will pass and I will survive it. I might even be better for it.

In the meantime, though, how do I go through these days with grace. How do I keep a loving tone in my voice and a caring look on my face? How do I be the person I want to be while I travel through this stressful season? These are real questions. I am definitely open for suggestions.

I know I will force myself to sit and write so I don’t forget this part of my life, and so I can vent. I know I will put myself to bed with things left undone. I know I will continue to rise in the morning. What do I need to do to keep myself sane? More of what I already do but I have to be deliberate. I have to deliberately get up and drink a cup of tea and read before I start my day. I have to deliberately take myself outside and exercise in the fresh air. I have to deliberately make myself go out with friends despite my exams. I have to remember to live my life around and through the next 30 days.

There are three things I know that help me a lot. Writing, reading and eating on time. Sleep is also a huge factor on the way I feel. If I am sleep deprived I tend toward being depressed. If I am hungry, I tend toward overwhelm. Writing helps me do brain dumps and reading helps me think on different things.

Maybe I’ll learn not to schedule everything at once someday. That would be nice, free Time.

So here’s to the next 30 days!

thanks for reading,

me

Time?

Time. Time is a wonderful, terrible thing. It is always moving, never ending, never waiting. Time, forever, like an engine moving forward. Time, a friend to pull you out of yesterday, an enemy to throw you into tomorrow.  Time, uncaring, unstoppable. Time is the great equalizer.

“Precious time, oh how I long for you to move quickly or slowly. How I long for you to work for me.”

“Time, why don’t you slow down for a few. I want to stop and breathe. I want a chance to collect myself before you move on.”

“Dear time, please move quickly to this, I cannot wait longer! I want so much to be there already. Dear time, why don’t you listen to me?”

“Time? I know you are there. Why is it you do not listen? Why don’t you act as if you care?”

Time speaks, “Oh but I do listen, it is you who do not understand. You need for me to move you from your past.  Your past?  It kills you.  You need me to pull you to the present, you’ve been in the past long enough.  The future? I never go there. That is but your imagination. I cannot do anything other than bring you to now. Right now. There is no other place than now.”

“But Time? How come I cannot go there? The future? I want so much to be done with this now.”

Time speaks again, “There are rules that must be followed. No one escapes these. I wait for no one and I always move forward. There is no choice for me and none for you. Accept this and life is better.”

“Accept this? I want only to relax and to live. I want to skip the rough stuff and move on to the good. Is this wrong? Why is it is so hard to live? Time, you scare me.”

“If you learn to accept me then life will be simpler. Recognize that I can be your friend. If you accept who I am and allow yourself to be with me this moment and no other you will find life in a different light.”

“Time? You are a seductress, You want me to be with you and not fight you. How is this good? I’ve learned from my past and I do not trust well.”

“Leave your past! It does not empower you. Trust me, I am older than all things. For nothing has ever existed without me. There was no before Time. I know you and have always been with you, learn to be with me. I am the one who pulled you through your past, I am the reason it is no longer yesterday. Be with me, you will not regret it.”

“Thank you Time, for pulling me from then.  Life was very bad.”

“You cannot win a fight against me, but then neither can those who hurt you.  To you I can be a friend and to them an enemy. The choice is yours. Accept me and we will go through this day, this moment together.”

“Yes, Time, I will try. Please do not abandon me.”

“I have never abandoned you. Those moments when you do stop and breathe, when you notice the sunrise, the sound of the ocean waves. Those moments when you are not afraid. Those moments, those are when you feel that I go by slowly. Those are the moments when you allow me to be with you, when you do not fight me. When you accept me then your mind is quiet and the chaos is at bay.”

“That was you? I didn’t know. Thank you.”

“Shall we then? Let us do this life together.”

“Yes, Time. Let’s do.”

thank you for reading,

me

My Cry for Help

I wrote the following long before I ever knew the depth of my pain, long before I ever spoke to a soul. I had had a hint of freedom that lead me to write this… I hope that my life can be a light to another’s.  Enjoy?

 

I search, I scream, I try to find a way out.  My dreams are haunted, I’m lost, terrified.

“Please someone, please help me.”  I can’t see, I can barely breathe.  Where is the air?  How did I get here?

“Someone please, please help me out!” I’m so lost, I don’t know my way.  Where am I?  I wish I could see the sky, but I’m blind. The birds? Do they sing? I can’t hear their song.

“My dreams? Please don’t ask me about my dreams.  My dreams don’t come true.  They can’t, my chains are too strong, dreaming just makes things worse.  What do I dream?  I can’t, it hurts too much.  Please, please don’t ask me that.  Don’t make me dream…the chains they hurt so bad.”

Air? Is that air? Sky? No!  I can’t look.  Oh, but the air is so sweet, and the sky is so bright.

“No! It only makes it worse!” Don’t give me air and sky, I can’t keep them.

“Go away, please go away.  Please, please.”

“What do you want?  Why do you hurt me so much?  I belong here, in my cage.  I belong here, with my chains.  Don’t help me, please, please don’t.”

It hurts too much. I didn’t know. I didn’t know I couldn’t breathe.  I didn’t know I had chains on.  I couldn’t see the cage.  I didn’t want to know.  Why did you show me?  It hurts so much more than it did before.  I was almost dead, why did you wake me?  Why did you set me free?  You are so cruel.  I didn’t know what it was like to be free.  I didn’t know what I was missing.  You cursed me!  I can’t stay free!  Why did you show me!  I didn’t want to know what it was like to be loved.

I screamed, I yelled, I begged to be free and you came, you showed me how.

“I hate you.  I hate you for showing me.  How dare you show me what I can’t have!  I hate you!”

My chains are heavier than they ever were before you.  My cage is smaller, my air is sour.  I at least thought I could breathe.  I didn’t know I was in hell. I just didn’t know.

You say I can.  Really? How?  You say it is my right to breathe?  To be free?  How?  By going through hell first?  I don’t want it.  If this isn’t hell yet, then I’ll just stay here.  I don’t want worse.  You still believe in me?  You say I can be free?  I don’t believe you.  You are wrong.  You all are wrong and I am right.  How can you all be wrong?  Is there really enough air out there?  Will I be able to see the sky? Hear the birds? Breathe?

“Help me!  I’m so alone! I can’t find my way.  Please, please help me.  I can’t do this alone.  I’m so scared.  I don’t know how.  I don’t know what to do.  Please, someone, please help me!”

thank you for reading,

me

ps.. the sun, the stars, the birds, the fields, the sky… they are all very, very real

Creating Purpose

I’m in a place where things are changing very rapidly.  As things change I wonder what it will look like in the future, and whether I can create a future that I love. I know that each day I live is a miniature of my future to come.  I have no control of the future and so if I want my future to be excellent then I need to strive for excellence each day.  Each morning is a new opportunity to live an amazing life.

What is an excellent day, then?  What does it look like?  Waking up energized, ready to face my day. is a good start.  Knowing what I want from the day, what I want to achieve by the end of the day, helps too.  A good day requires my basic needs to be met – food, shelter, clothing.  In the United States our bare minimum is actually greater than the daily lives of the majority of people in the world.  This means that those needs are likely met well.

What I have the most control of is myself, not my surroundings.  So I need to decide how I want to be.  How do I want to behave? Act? Live? Think?  What are my morals? Beliefs? It would be nice if those questions were easy to answer.  A lot of what I believed in the past was just plain wrong.  Creating new belief, though?  That’s an interesting proposition.  I can’t just take the opposite of the past, that isn’t actually how I want to be.  Morals?  I know these are a part of my beliefs but I feel that fundamentally these are still mostly unchanged.

What I do know is that I want to help others.  I want to show people that they can be, and are already, beautiful people.  I want others to see their own worthiness, their own greatness.  I want them to see the miracle that they are.

As I went through each step these last few years I had to search for support, and many times go it alone.  I would latch on to a single idea.  I would believe that the future had the possibility of being better only if things changed.  I didn’t go so far as to believe that it would be great but now I do.  Now I know that my life, and yours, is a matter of what we make of it.  We are amazing human beings and we have the ability to change our world.

I want to be able to shine a light on the darkness so that others can climb their way out of their own dungeons.  I want so much to lend a helping hand for those that need it.  I do this, by writing, by encouraging, by showing others that there is hope.

May each morning be a new beginning to a wonderful future for you.

thank you for reading,

me